1. Find Out More About The Design
When it comes to mid-century furniture, being knowledgeable can be of great help as you'll know what to look for when searching for mid-century modern furniture. Start by learning more about the origin of the design. The Mid-century modern style was basically a reaction to the more conventional interior styling of the early 20th century. The furniture designers back then intentionally avoided using plush textures and ornate shapes for more minimalistic designs and clean lines. Mid-century modern furniture/furnishings have a distinct look that's defined by low seating, flowing curves, crisp lines, and thin legs.
Mid-century modern designers used new materials to create their furniture particularly plastics and wood composites developed for the military during the Second World War. One thing you will notice with mid-century furniture is that most of them are made using chrome, hard plastic, fiberglass, and plywood. Because of this, it is quite easy to copy and mass-produce mid-century furniture; something that presents a challenge for people looking for authentic, mid-century furniture pieces.
2. Know the Names Of Top Mid-Century Modern Furniture Designers
There are a couple of American designers who defined the mid-century modern design, including Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, George Nelson, and brands like Knoll and Herman Miller. Both Knoll and Herman Miller are still in operation and are still creating mid-century-styled furniture. While true to the attention to detail and classic design aesthetics, the furniture they sell is not vintage or original.
There are a couple of Danish designers like Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen who also contributed to the development of the style. These are the names that are generally related to most of the authentic vintage mid-century furniture available on the market today. While in the market, you may come across furniture pieces that have the designer listed with the brand, like the "Knoll Table by Saarinen." This is quite common as most designers worked for large organizations. However, furniture pieces listed with more than one designer like "Eames Nelson Wire Chair" are inaccurate and probably are not authentic.
3. Know Some of the Most Common Mid-Century Modern Design Furniture Styles
The Mid-Century Modern design was so unique and innovative, that individual designs became well-known names. Some of these iconic furniture pieces are today's most sought-after and well-known styles. For instance, swan chairs and tulip are more common compared to Eames lounge chairs. Others include end tables, small dining tables, and sideboards; although these furniture pieces weren't originally named.
4. Research Specific Pieces
Product descriptions for most authentic mid-century-styled furniture typically include the designer's name and the furniture type like the "Knoll tulip table." As a buyer, you should use this information to research specific pieces you want to know what to look for when in the market. If you look at the collection of mid-century furniture at Rove Concepts you will see each furniture piece has very specific design elements; nonetheless, there's one common thing with all mid-century modern furniture. Because of their emphasis on craftsmanship and clean lines, original, mid-century modern piece does not have any visible connective hardware like bolts and screws they are all well-hidden.
5. Ask the Right Questions
Sellers listing authentic, original mid-century furniture pieces should be both able and willing to answer any and all questions concerning the authenticity of a product. If the photos provided don't clearly show indicative design features, then ask for more. Also, ask the seller when and where he or she procured the item(s), what they are made of, and if there are any definitive marks (stickers or logos) on them.
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